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Every three years, U.S. EPA selects national enforcement initiatives based on input from State agencies and the general public. For 2014 through 2016, EPA is targeting leaks, flares, and excess emissions from refineries and chemical plants that emit hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). EPA has since proposed to continue this enforcement effort for 2017 through 2019.

Facilities subject to 40 CFR Part 63 (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, or NESHAP), Subpart FFFF (Miscellaneous Organic Chemical Manufacturing, or the MON) are a main focus of EPA’s national enforcement initiative aimed at reducing HAP emissions. Therefore, EPA is targeting facilities subject to the MON and conducting comprehensive facility inspections. The scope of EPA’s MON facility inspections typically includes compliance with leak detection and repair (LDAR), process vent, storage tank, and wastewater requirements. Additionally, EPA performs a thorough analysis of the facility’s applicability determinations under the MON.

Recently, EPA has used the MON inspections as an opportunity to also investigate applicability to the Benzene Waste Operations NESHAP (BWON) regulation codified under 40 CFR 61, Subpart FF. Many facilities have either not examined potential BWON applicability or have not updated their original determination since submitting initial notifications in the early 1990s. This is particularly true for facilities without annual reporting requirements. Numerous operational changes likely have occurred since initial BWON applicability determinations were made. Therefore, a facility’s status under BWON may have changed since the initial determinations were made, triggering additional BWON requirements. The following are potential BWON-related items to consider when evaluating a facility’s status under BWON following operational changes:

  • Is any amount of benzene generated in the process? This includes any intermediates and byproducts.
  • Is any amount of benzene found in the raw materials? Even trace quantities could alter BWON applicability.
  • Is off-site waste received and treated at your facility? If yes, does this waste contain benzene? And if so, how much?

During a MON inspection, EPA is likely to address the aforementioned items as related to BWON. Depending on the inspection results, EPA can levy substantial fines for noncompliance. Therefore, it is essential to have up-to-date knowledge of your facility’s BWON applicability. Trinity Consultants has direct experience with EPA MON inspection assistance, as well as BWON experience for the chemical manufacturing and petroleum refining industries. If you need assistance evaluating your current compliance with the MON or potential BWON applicability, please contact Inaas Darrat, P.E., at (713) 552-1371 or your local Trinity office at (800) 229-6655.